West Fermanagh is particularly rich in natural history with many notable habitats and species in abundance. It is part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark, the area designated by UNESCO for its exceptional geological heritage of international importance.
The area boasts some of the most scenic view points in Ireland as well as a variety of walking and driving routes which give visitors the opportunity to explore the wealth of biodiversity in this area. The next three trails are all within easy reach of each other and are largely contained within the perimeters of the Lough Navar Forest, the benefits of which include a network of trails criss-crossing the forest along with parking, picnic areas and interpretation panels.
Lough Navar Forest
Lough Navar Forest near Derrygonnelly contains lakes, peat bogs, exposed cliffs and some amazing viewpoints. The northfacing sandstone scarps are botanically important for arctic-alpine species, most notably one-sided wintergreen, yellow mountain saxifrage, shady horsetail, holly fern and green spleenwort. Hen harriers, sparrowhawks, jays and ravens may be spotted throughout the year while crossbills and cuckoos also occur in season. Woodcock breed in the clearings while smaller birds, which are more likely to be heard than seen, include coal tits, goldcrests, treecreepers, and siskins. Red deer and feral goats can be seen from the forest tracks. The area is rich in insects with common hawker and black darter dragonflies being frequently seen while in August peacock butterflies occur in large numbers feeding on devil’s-bit scabious. Within Lough Navar Forest are many way-marked walking trails highlighting short and longer walks.
Particularly lovely is the Blackslee Waterfall trail which is edged with deciduous woodland and in springtime there are primroses, anemones, wild garlic, bluebells and violets.
Directions to Lough Navar Forest Entrance
Follow the signs for Lough Navar Forest Drive signposted from A46 and B82.
Falls Bridge car park is at the entrance to the Lough Navar Forest Drive.
Lough Navar Forest, Scenic Drive & Walking Trails
(part of the Marble Arch Caves Global Geopark)
Trail Information, Facilities & Access
- Open all year round forest operations permitting.
- Forest drive is a looped 7 miles/11.2km drive starting in the car park.
- The scenic drive peaks at the top of the Magho Cliffs, a fantastic scenic viewpoint overlooking Lower Lough Erne and out towards the Atlantic Ocean.
- Blackslee Waterfall Walk is a 3.8 miles/6.1km looped walk along forest tracks starting in the carpark at Aghameelan Viewpoint.
- Throughout this scenic drive are a number of car parks, picnic areas, viewpoints and information panels.
- There are also a number of trails and five waymarked walking routes along forest tracks and gravel paths.
- Access for fishing is also available.
Magho Cliffs Walk
The viewpoint is the stunning background for 2 way-marked walks: one a steep 1 mile/1.5km assent and the other a leisurely 0.4 miles/600m trail. Marvel at the magnificent views over Lower Lough Erne and the Erne estuary, with its islands and promontories. There are also panoramic views of Mullaghmore and Slieve League. A peregrine may swoop past, or a pair of ravens tumble over the cliffs. Along the path there are heathers and bilberry between which can be seen the yellow flowers of cow wheat.
The path gives views over the spectacular Cliffs of Magho which are flanked on their lower slopes by the most species diverse woodland in Northern Ireland.